By now I’m sure that you’ve all heard about the drama surrounding Tuthmosis’ post 5 Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder on Return of Kings – if you haven’t, just scroll down to the comments. HuffPo stumbled upon it, completely missed the satire, and thousands of self-entitled College girls decided that the appropriate response would be to start making death threats.
The opposite of Love isn’t Indifference, I guess, it’s Hate.
But the comments got me thinking: “Eating Disorders” – are they actually a thing? Because I’m confident that they are not – at least, not in the way most people think. The reality is that a girl with an “Eating Disorder” is a vicious and spiteful Schedule II case (usually a Borderline or a Histrionic), and while Tuthmosis is correct about them being demons in the sack, they’re demons outside of the sack, too; they are toxic people who should be avoided at all costs.
To explain why we’re going to have to delve into the pseudo-science which underlies much of modern Psychology.
Some Psychologists are legitimate scientists, trying to better understand how people function, and applying that knowledge to help them improve. These are the men and women who’ve discovered fascinating things about the mind. Far too many of them, however, act like autistic savants, or scheming manipulators; rather than try and understand the mind, they describe particularized manifestations of mental illness, and call it a day. Big Insurance demands a diagnosis, and Big Pharma demands that we cure it with a pill. As a result, mental health becomes just another for-profit-at-all-costs machine. The crazy person gets labelled, they’re fed a narcotic (often one with less benefits, and more side-effects than a placebo), they get to feel special because they’ve joined a victim group, while the Psychologist pats himself on the back and ignores all the damage he’s caused in the world.
Now you might think that this is the point where I reject the term “mental illness” for being incomparable to physical illness; quite the contrary, in fact. Both the mind and the body are complex, anti-fragile systems, and when such a system goes wrong, it usually happens due to one of only a handful of errors. This is the problem with diagnostic criteria like the DSM series; they label thousands upon thousands of personality disorders, without ever asking what the motive cause behind them is. They simply create a list of observable behaviours and call that the disorder. If this were how mental illness actually worked, you’d expect the same mental illnesses springing up in every country, and every culture; but you don’t.
Instead what you find is that a particularized mental illness is almost always culture-specific.
With physical disease, variations are predictable: factors such as climate, living conditions, and population density adequately explain why any given disease is more common in Country A than Country B; add in the genetic variations between ethnicities, and your theory is complete. Disease manifestation will vary from place to place, but it will still occur in all places.
Mental illness – when properly understood – should be no different.
Variations in light levels, cultural values, genetic personality variations, and urban density will obviously affect the proportions – but it won’t affect the underlying causes.
Or, for that matter, the fundamental solutions. For both mental and physical illness, the solutions are:
Good Diet, and –
The application to the physical body is obvious; the number one thing you can do to improve your health is eat a nourishing diet, and take care of yourself. Work out, wash your hands, and avoid people who are infected with something – there is a huge moral component to this. Good diet and hygiene take discipline and forethought, as well as a community of people around you who are doing the same. Mental health is no different. To stay mentally healthy you need to:
Surround yourself with positive (non-toxic) people, and-
Pay attention to your own mental hygiene, so that you don’t become a toxic person.
As with physical health these are moral choices.
Granted, complex systems (even anti-fragile ones such as ourselves) have millions of ways in which they can go wrong, but only one manner in which they can go right, and in a certain sense this justifies the endless lists which you find in the DSM. But while symptoms might vary between diseases, the fundamental aspects of them do not. Either:
- A virus or bacterium got in, and is eating you,
- You suffered an act of violence, or:
- A design flaw needs correction.
The last is deserving of compassion (Aspergers – if you consider that a mental disorder – is comparable [they may need help learning coping techniques]); the second might have been avoidable, but deserves treatment (PTSD from emotional trauma); the first shows a clear moral failing on the part of the individual, and will require moral commitment to cure and prevent in the future.
The particularized symptoms might vary tremendously, but the underlying mechanism won’t.
So let us consider the Bulimic, who’s demanding that you pity her and pay for her “healthcare,” because she has a disease (known only in North America) which causes her to stick her hand down her throat after each meal, and buy lots of Tic Tacs.
The Victim Groups (read: enabling groups) would have you believe that she sees a distorted version of herself in he mirror: that she’s been so brainwashed with “patriarchal, misogynistic” imagery of skinny women in Hollywood, that she looks at her 110 lb frame and sees a whale.
What absolute bunk; if you think that this is how mental disorders work, then you probably think that the depictions of LSD trips in movies are literal depictions of what you see after dropping acid. As for the imagery influencing her? True, but incidental; there’s something deeper at play.
Ignore the justifications, and look at the behaviour: she’s engaged in self-harm. More specifically, she’s engaged in hidden self-harm – committing a slow form of suicide in the privacy of the bathroom stall.
Suicide is a flight from suffering, but there’s often a great deal of spite involved in it, too.
This is what you get for not loving me enough.
It’s a passive-aggressive attack on those whom the Suicide wants to feel love from; their parents, the peers who are bullying them, it’s a dumping of bad karma on “those who’ve done me wrong.” In most cases there are other solutions – learning better coping techniques, standing up to bullies, and owning up to the things you did to get bullied in the first place – but rather than confronting the problems within themselves, they embrace the model of the victim, and project all their blame onto the outside world. Suicide is the perfect embrace of the victim mentality, refusing to take responsibility for anything, and laying your own self-destruction at the feet of those around you.
In the case of the girl with the Eating Disorder, it’s just a lesser form of the victim mentality: it’s your fault that she has to throw up to be beautiful, it’s your fault that you take her to restaurants without healthy menu choices, it’s your fault that she never resolved the issues with her father, ad nauseam. She has made the moral decision not to take responsibility for any of her actions, and so long as you are the man in her life, she will pin the blame on you.
Self-destructive people will always try and destroy those around them.
The sort of girl who has an eating disorder is the sort of girl who’ll poke holes in the condoms, who’ll file a false rape accusation, who’ll start an argument the night before you go to a job interview, and who’ll give you the silent treatment when you take her on vacation.
In other words, she is a monster – a monster by her own choice, even if somebody else’s making.
Everybody’s been through some sort of trauma in life, but that’s no excuse to spread that poison into other peoples’ souls. All of us screw up every once in a while, and treat our friends poorly – sometimes trauma can take years of concerted effort to fully heal from – but regardless of our backgrounds, we’re morally obligated to get better, and stop hurting others.
The girl with the Eating Disorder, like all of those who revel in their own infirmities, rejects all notion of responsibility for her choices. She is toxic, destructive, and – ultimately – pathetic.
Avoid her like the plague that she is.
For a thorough exploration of mental illness, to help you avoid toxic people as well as to prevent you becoming toxic yourself, I highly recommend the writings of Ricky Raw at his blog The Rawness.